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Joining the French Foreign Legion

I've been badly beaten both by the industry and my personal life. Sorry, not beaten, mauled.
I lost the will to work myself hard at anything at all, because of several problems the ties I had with my family were severed, both on my father and on my mother side. I have no girlfriend.

Basically, this makes me a man with nothing to lose. I thought about joining the French Foreign Legion. Although I'm not a gung-ho type of guy, I've always felt atracted to the image of the Legionaire. I noticed some of you guys are studying law at night, while others are turning to med school. My thing is the Legion.

What do you have to say about this?

Beau Geste
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

It made a man out of me

Jean-Claude Van Dam
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

http://www.frenchforeignlegion.org/database/data/dta024.html

Code Monkey
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Go for it. If you're still alive after your tour you can throw away your old identity and keep the French passport they'll give you and start a new life. Of course, the French look at the legion as the most expendable of all troops and will use you accordingly but hey, that's what the fun's all about!

John C
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Hakuna Matata!

Pumbaa
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

That link was an interesting read.  I was surprised that the training is 15-17 weeks, though.  I mean, how long does it really take to learn how to surrender?

Yet another anon
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Pumbaa:
What does the FFL have to do with the Lion King?

Beau Geste
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Yet another anon
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Go for it. I did military training, as did many of the folks at JOS. I found it fascinating, and the cameradie terrific. You know you're alive when you do your first helicopter assault (exercise.)


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Think very, VERY carefully about joining the French Foreign Legion. I've heard some pretty horrific stories about it. There must be something more positive you can do than join a military organisation. How about volunteering to help out at a good cause somewhere locally? Something to get you back on track without sacrificing your life to a cause whose core values you may find you don't share.

But if you really, honestly think it's for you, and you haven't got ANY doubts... then go for it.

Adrian
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

By the looks of it.. they may need an english speaking web designer. :D

About the surrender thing. I dont think it applies to the FL. From what I hear they are pretty relentless.

Even those hats they wear is a testament to their courage.

Eric Debois
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Make a choice properly. You really want to kill another soul if the time does come?. Take a look at some of the horror stories before you join armies.

Anonymous Coward
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Is that you, Norrick?


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Is that the appeasement training that every French person goes through ?

Yo
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

The 15-17 weeks isn't to learn how to surrender, it's to train you how to run away very fast.


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

There's a book called The World's Most Dangerous Places which talks in some detail about the Legion (at least in a previous edition I read). It sounded like a pretty bad idea, even to a guy who spent time with the Taliban.

Amazon book link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0060011602/qid=1086816821/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/103-9708390-9387858?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

Exception guy
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Like most red blooded American's I have the view that France does a good job of losing wars. However, I place the blame not on the soldiers or even their military as a whole. Instead, if there is blame it should go on the politicians.

The FFL sounds a bit extreme to me. The Marines would be a better choice as an American.

MilesArcher
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Yes, join the marines, then you can increase your vocabulary to include words like 'wooh yeh' in every sentence.

Aussie Chick
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

I concur with the guy who thought you should join the Marines vice the FFL. I could still feel a very large sense of accomplishment, belonging, comradere. You will also know that you are safe in the hands of your CO and the arms of your Platoon Sergeant. I do not know if the FFL would take as good care of you as you would in the USMC. Plus you would be doing a honor for the country you are in now, not some other country or training you know nothing of. Sure it sounded exciting to you, because you know nothing of it, I have been in your situation, five years later, I am a Sergeant in the finest fighting organization in the entire world, a father of two boys and the husband of a beautiful wife. The Marine Corps has been great to me and so has this country, don't be so quick to leave it!

Sgt Bowker/USMC
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

"""You will also know that you are safe in the hands of your CO and the arms of your Platoon Sergeant"""


Still waiting for the punch line...


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Ahem... To all the Marines on this forum, I am from Europe. Sometimes you forget that the internet brings all of us together.



(and I'm not french either)

Beau Geste
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

You can bash the french to your heart's content, but I wouldn't bash the legion.  To those who made the "run away" jokes, you are un-informed that the joke is not funny.

Brad
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

The discussion raises a good point.  Your situation sounds like a good one to justify a dramatic shift in your life, such as joining a military force.  Why not join the one serving your own country?  In my years living in Europe as a US military brat, contact with military personnel of a given host country always seemed positive.  They were good men and women and represented a good fighting force.

As for the validity of joining a fighting force at all, it's definitely a noble thing to do if your circumstances are favorable to it -- every free and civil nation requires the power of force to preserve that freedom and civility.

As George Orwell stated, "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

offMyMeds
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

"I am from Europe..."

You don't have to be a US citizen to join the US Marines. But remember this famous quote (from a WWI recruit I think) :

"The first week I was afraid I woud die. The second week I was afraid I wouldn't die. But by the third week, I was so strong I felt like I would never die."

 

Tom H
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Try to remember that your current situation, regardless of how disappointing, is temporary.  This is how things are right now.  It does not sound like they were always that way and things will not always be this way.  In other words, do not pursue a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  When everyone treats you like dirt, you may begin to feel like dirt be totally unmotivated to do anything.  I have felt that way at work before.  The best times in my life have been when I have moved or made a change in my job where I dropped the old baggage and started over somewhat.  A new opportunity (not necessarily the FFL or other military service) can do wonders for the psyche.

Finally, (no flaming please) it is my personal belief that God values you highly and wants the best for you.  I  know from personal experience that God can take you from where you are and go with you from that point.  OK, I know this is not a religion discussion forum, but our friend here is asking serious questions and deserves serious answers.

Jim L
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

nicely said

Aussie Chick
Thursday, June 10, 2004

Yes that's good advice Jim.

Matthew Lock
Thursday, June 10, 2004

----" "The first week I was afraid I woud die. The second week I was afraid I wouldn't die. But by the third week, I was so strong I felt like I would never die."-------

And the fourth week they probably did die if it is WW1.

I doubt if Beau Geste is asking a serious question and doubt even more if it deserves a serious answer, but there are a few things to bear in mind?

One are you good-looking? If you are, expect to be rogered a few times every night, but don't get too upset - it will be one of the better things that will happen to you.

Secondly, do you like the company of psychos? There will only be a small proportion of them in the Legion, but quite enough to be annoying - particularly if you emit loser pheromes like a kettle on the hob.

Thirdly, why on earth do you think a software developers forum is the place to ask? Do you ask the local footballer hooligans forum how to dim an array in VB?

So, unless you are a serial child molester, who puts his victims through the mixer afterwards and then puts false sell-by labels in the packaging, I would give the idea a miss - particularly as there are many less painful ways of acquiring a false identity.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, June 10, 2004

Is this prompted by something I heard the other day about a reality TV show on a French Foreign Legion enlistment and following the hilarious consequences?

Sometimes I wonder if within all the species of flies that some have evolved to eat shit and others to watch it in a similar way as homo sapiens.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, June 10, 2004

I think that, given a choice between, say, joining the legion, and going to beg on the streets, I'd rather do the latter. War is, so far as I've learned, hell. I've had enough of violence: à mon avis, cet geste n'aurait rien de beau.

In fact, speaking of drills, I'm starting to embody a 'martial art', Chen-style Tai Chi (my master teaches 'Kung Fu' as well, but only to little kids, five-year-olds; I don't mind that all: I like Tai Chi). I meet in the park every morning with a small group of other students, retired ladies mostly, for an hour and a half of practice. It's changing my person (and my social life).

Good luck to you.

Christopher Wells
Thursday, June 10, 2004


"Make a choice properly. You really want to kill another soul if the time does come?. "

We're talking about a military outfit that is controlled by French. The only killing that they will do is a couple cases of Chardonnay.

I can think of better ways of wasting my life than washing latrinies and being a servant to the French.

Frenchie
Thursday, June 10, 2004

"Yes, join the marines, then you can increase your vocabulary to include words like 'wooh yeh' in every sentence."

I believe the word you are looking for is "hoo-ah".

Jim Rankin
Thursday, June 10, 2004

"So, unless you are a serial child molester, who puts his victims through the mixer afterwards and then puts false sell-by labels in the packaging, I would give the idea a miss - particularly as there are many less painful ways of acquiring a false identity."

So..., your time in the legion didn't agree with you, Stephen?

Jim Rankin
Thursday, June 10, 2004

Said Jim L:
> "In other words, do not pursue a permanent solution
> to a temporary problem."

Man, are THOSE ever words to live by...

(Though I have to say that, in retrospect, joining the USAF & getting to finish my degree & live in Europe for several years was not a bad life move at all.)

- former car owner in Queens
Thursday, June 10, 2004

Join a military organization - or the Peace Corps - or go to college - or get a job - or anything becase you have a burning desire to do so, not because you are running away from your problems.

1. Find a counselor who will not let you run from your problems, but will help you work through them.

2. Make contact with your family and do whatever it takes to reconcile.  You may have to eat crow - but so what?  What happens if one of your parents dies before you wake up?  You'll never have the chance to make up then.

3. Start an exercise program.  Get out and get busy with life.

4. Once all this is done, if you still want to join the military, you will be doing so out of desire, not out of fear of yourself.  I've never been in the military myself, but I tell you - I wouldn't want you in my foxhole with your attitude right now.  You'd probably just get both of us killed.

Go straighten out things you originally brought up, then come back and tell us how it worked out.

Karl Perry
Thursday, June 10, 2004

Stephen Jones:

This is not a bogus question. Because of a nasty incident I lost contact with half my family. My other half is made up of drug addicts and professional criminals.
Why asking questions here: because I usually post here, but more about Java and Vectors (not arrays). I am sw developer now, but I feel so burned out both on my personal and on my professional life that a drastic change is exactly what I'm looking. And yes, the fake French identity they give you after 5 years is tempting. So is the 2000euros pension you receive for life after 15 years there. My five years as a developer went by very quickly. How long will it take to make 15 doing peace keeping missions in Africa?

Why not look for another solution? Because I feel trapped. This year left me psychologically drained, exhausted, embattled. I fought very hard against very powerfull enemies and I lost. I feel I passed a threshold this year, and it's not good. I feel alone and because of that I have really nothing to lose.

Like I said, I could take any other job doing something else and go study some other subject besides CS at night, but the FFL is my thing. Le quepi blanc atracts me.


Oh, and about joining the Marines? I don't know. Years and years of Platoon, Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket left me cold to the US. So does it's current foreign policy.

Beau Geste
Thursday, June 10, 2004

"peaceamaking missions" is rather a euphemism for what the French do in Africa.  If you want to be an "ethical legionnaire" you could try the Spanish Foreign Legion, since Spain doesn't have many ex-colonies to mess up.  Mind you, the only Spanish Foreign Legionnaire I know is hopefully still in nick for killing a guy in his own house by kniving him thirty times. As I was the guy who grassed on him, the dislike will no doubt be mutual.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, June 10, 2004


> Years and years of Platoon, Apocalypse Now and Full
> Metal Jacket left me cold to the US. So does it's current
> foreign policy.

OK, I (a veteran of the US armed forces) agree that a lot of what has been happening overseas in our names is utterly loathsome.  The damage wrought by Bush et al's misadventure will take years (if not decades) to repair.

But you lose a lot of credibility if you genuinely believe that the bullsh!t Hollywood movies you list above are any kind of reliable basis for forming opinions (of the US military or anything else).

It sounds like you've had some genuinely bad things happening in your life - but in this instance at least, you should be forming your judgements (and basing your decisions) on firmer ground than what you've seen in the movies.

- former car owner in Queens
Thursday, June 10, 2004

If you dont mind fucking goats and mens then go for it pal

Llamasoft
Thursday, June 10, 2004

Llamasoft
Why do people always feel that saying something completely ridiculous is helpfull to the discussion?

car owner
I didn't make up my mind about the US or it's military from those movies. Simply, I've had an overdose of US military. Who saves the day? Who rescues the damsel in distress? Who storms the beaches? I've seen too much of the US military to feel atracted to it. But then again, this is a moot point, I'm not an american citizen.

Beau Geste
Thursday, June 10, 2004

you know you don't like your current situation.

how do you imagine it will be better in the legion?

really.

mb
Thursday, June 10, 2004

It can't be worse. The only thing that hasn't happened to me this year is physical torture.

Beau Geste
Friday, June 11, 2004

> Why not look for another solution? Because I feel trapped. This year left me psychologically drained, exhausted, embattled. I fought very hard against very powerfull enemies and I lost. I feel I passed a threshold this year, and it's not good. I feel alone and because of that I have really nothing to lose.

Well I'm sorry for you. There is a victim psychology that says" I've been hurt in the past, so I deserve to be hurt again" ... but I would recommend that you avoid any temptation towards masochism, and build towards a happier life instead.

> It can't be worse. The only thing that hasn't happened to me this year is physical torture.

Apparently you could look forward to being tortured too ... if you're even accepted:

    "Despite the danger involved in its task and the gross misinformation circulating about it, the Legion attracts nearly 10,000 applicants each year from all over the world, most of them non-French citizens. Query a member about the legendary secret selection process (only one in seven gets in) and rigorous training (some of the world's most demanding,) and he will just smile, or spit, and dance around the subject of killing goats with bare hands or drinking human blood. What is known for sure is that new recruits are required to sign on for a binding five-year period. Some try to escape the Legion's storied training grounds on the island of Corsica; a few try suicide. Most stay. And those that don't are never the same."

    "The time I spent there will always be the most important of my life." But Sutherland didn't stay the course. "I just couldn't hack it. You don't understand. The training, it's punishing, it breaks you."

http://www.stim.com/Stim-x/9.6/legion/legion-09.6.html

There is more at http://www.comebackalive.com/df/military/frforleg.htm including ...

"You must pass the same general standards as the French Army, but then the Legion takes over. You will learn to march like a mule in hell-long forced marches with heavy packs; jungle, mountain and desert training. You can bail out during the first four months of training, but from then on, you will speak the thick, crude French of the Legionnaire and learn to be completely self-sufficient in the world's worst regions."

... which includes a section "How to Get in".

In fact the rest of the http://www.comebackalive.com/df/index.htm site is quite "interesting" too.

Christopher Wells
Friday, June 11, 2004

man, pretty much most of you are very well mis-informed abou the legion.
They are a military organisation, and have to follow the human rights act.
You can leave anytime during the 1st six months, its a clause in the contact, and the training is at castelnaudery in france, not on a scary compound on corsica.

And you dont get a fake french passport, you have the option of changing your name when you enter the legion, you can change it back if you have done 3 years service, and when you leave you get the passport in your real name, not your french fake name, the french government would be in huge shit if the issued false travel documents.

try to learn something before you shoot your mouth off about a military organisation that many people live and die for.

and if you think the FFL are good at surrendering, read about the battle of camerone in 1867.

gruff
Tuesday, June 29, 2004

I'd have to agree with Gruff.  The Legion's 2nd REP (parachute regiment) is one of the most respected airborne units in the world.  Battalions from the 2nd REP have performed very well in Bosnia and other international hot spots.  The goofy rumors you hear about the Legion (i.e., sadistic indoctrination ceremonies) are not true - France considers the Legion to be an integral part of the French Army and the Legion is highly professional.  French politicians may lack the stomach to prescribe tough foreign policy, but do not doubt the Legion's professionalism or resolve.  By the way, I was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army.

airbornepltldr
Wednesday, June 30, 2004

From an anciens who has just completed 5 years and has commited to another 3...

Go for it, I spent 6 years in the british army and enjoyed that as well.

The food is good, the comeraderie is excellent and the training, although hard, is rewarding. You are a soldier and there is no two ways about it!

You train 6 days a week and what pay you get (around 1050 Euros a month is yours to do with what you want).
After three years you can become a french citizen and many ex legionaires become gendarmes - a safe and enjoyable job as well!

Don´t listen to the wannabees who have never had the chance to wear another uniform but their night gown.

Vive La Legion

Martin
Thursday, July 01, 2004

and if the french did have a problem that they needed the military to fix, they would 1st send the legion, they are the most expendable troops they have, and they know it, but people still join.

gruff
Thursday, July 01, 2004

does the FFL do any sort of "dirty work"?

JOhn
Friday, July 02, 2004

Well...I`m from Kosovo and i was  former UCK(Kosova Liberation Army)Soldier.FFL is simmilar from the experience that i had durin the war here.The Army is for real men (u all know it).But still they are respected elite force in the world.They don`t get the glory like we didn`t get coz the popullation considers us like criminals not as heroes.But still they (FFL) did a good job during theyre missions.I consider them like heroes like every soldier in this world that should be considered no matter what.So stop makin stupid arguments bout FFL coz this may be mine ore your last hope for startin a new life so you better be careful coz one day u might end up there

Tiki
Friday, July 02, 2004

Danger, challenge, doing the impossible ?

Become a real good teacher.

They are underpaid, tested everyday, work to the point of exhaustion.

If you make the cut, some states have a good pension.

Good luck in whatever career change you select.

John
Sunday, July 11, 2004

I'm in the army it's dead easy and no ones shot at me ever also it's a good laugh and i shag lots of birds.

Mike
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

"Join a military organization - or the Peace Corps - or go to college - or get a job - or anything becase you have a burning desire to do so, not because you are running away from your problems."

that is good advice but in extreme cases i dont think it cuts it. if noone was running away from their problems then the legion would be a very small army. thats what its there for. to give a man a second chance, start a new life, abandon his old identity.

im am going thru somewhat the same problems as you and although im still very young i feel the legion would offer me a better life. i am not naive, i have read and reserched and read and although it sounds pretty damned tough when it comes down to it it is a professional army with professional doctors, state of the art equipment and they will beat u and break u, but there'ye not going to kill you.(probably)

i have weighed up everything in my life and decided to join as soon as i have the money to fly to france.

im not trying to preach to you but people do join it and survive. you can pull out in the first couple of months anyway if you decide its not for you.

my advice: you better be pretty desperate to consider it, but if you are then go for it.

Martin
Sunday, July 18, 2004

I have decided to join the FFL as soon as possible. Any other Swede to go ?

Sammy
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Well, Im a Swede and Ive thought about joining, but I feel like Im too young (19 in a few months). I will at least try to finish college (gymnasiet) before I go.

Ive mainly thought about it because Ive been involved in some bad things(although Ive never been judged guilty to anything yet) since I was about thirteen and Im starting to get tired of it. As it looks like now, Ive three things I can do with my life, become a soldier in the legion, spend my life assembling car-parts at volvo or something or (nost likely if I dont move out of the country)become a professional criminal.

So, for now I just want my college degree(even though I wont beable to get in to any universites with it).

But who knows maybe we will meet somwhere in france in a few years .

Hälsningar

Vic

Vic
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Go for it if that's what you feel like. I'm past forty now, and wish in some ways that I had. In any case becoming a European represents a significant advance for most Americans.

Disregard the cheese eating surrender monkey stuff - US forces have not won a war on their own since 1865. At that stage the enemy was themselves, and US strategic and tactical doctrine remains based on the US Grant approach - a larger number of poor troops with the advantage of better supplies and more firepower will always overwhelm a smaller number of better troops with poor equipment and no supplies. Vietnam should have been a lesson - America beaten hollow by a third world country. Unfortunately it wasn't.

As a UK/Irish dual national I mind intensely that the US Army fell apart at the Kasserine Pass and left the Irish Guards to get slaughtered; and I mind too that Rumsfeld's sheer stupidity has made Iraq much harder for the real heroes of that war - the high quality British troops, many of them from the Royal Irish Regiment. If your boys had been fighting a stubborn and intractable terrorist enemy for the past thirty years as Britain did in Northern Ireland, you might have more chance of winning hearts and minds in Iraq. There again Northern Ireland lasted as long as it did because the IRA took advantage of your lax gun laws.

In a situation such as Iraq, there are many situations where firepower is not the answer. British troops know this, French troops know this, but sadly the Americans don't.  That's why most British soldiers - and I've known a few - think the US Army is shit. It's a view shared by many of our older citizens who lived through the war - the best comment was from an elderly lady in the West Country.

'The American soldiers were really nice, but we didn't like those white people they brought with them.'         

John Erskine
Sunday, July 25, 2004

The strongest fighting force is the SAS, remember that,a nd rember they are British, the USMC rely on brawn, the sas on brains. But that and my own patriotism aside, the reason I am now looking at joining the FFL is because I am 34 years old, and no other fighting force that I am aware off will even consider men of my age, regardless of fitness, guile or background.

As to runnign away, i find it shameful that anyone from any military force would condemn any brother in arms who has been in kosovo, rwanda etc. The FFL are hardcore. As hardcore as the US marines, the British paratroops or any other elite force. Hold your tongues, lest your ass be on the line when all that is between you and the death of your family is the FFl. Honour to the legion and any other band of brothers who would risk their lives to defeat tyrany

Jason B
Tuesday, August 17, 2004

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